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Retro Vault: Super Mario Land, X-Men, Chuck Rock

Plus: Outrun and Molyneux's favourite Amiga games

Retro Vault is our regular weekly feature in which we dive into gaming's past and share five classic nuggets of retro nostalgia. If you want to catch up on previous Retro Vaults, check out the CVG Retro Vault archive.


April 1989 - Super Mario Land artwork

If Mario's debut Game Boy adventure felt different from his NES escapades, that's because it was the first game in the series that didn't feature input from Shigeru Miyamoto.

Instead, as Miyamoto worked on Super Mario Bros 3, the task of creating and developing the first ever handheld Mario platformer fell to Gunpei Yokoi, the man who had invented the Game Boy itself.

Yokoi's plan was to create a game that felt like the original Super Mario Bros but also had its own identity, taking Mario out of the Mushroom Kingdom and placing him in a strange new world.

That new world was Sarasaland, whose ruler Princess Daisy had been kidnapped by the evil space alien Tatanga. Cue a platforming romp through four distinct worlds, each loosely based on Egypt, Easter Island, ancient China and Bermuda.

While Super Mario Land is the shortest of Mario's adventures, it's still considered a fan favourite thanks to its quirkier moments (it features two side-scrolling shooter stages in a submarine and biplane) and its incredible soundtrack by Nintendo composer Hip Tanaka.

Amazingly, despite its popularity, Super Mario Land didn't get a re-release for another two decades, until it was finally added to the 3DS Virtual Console service.

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